Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tax Return Hypocrisy

There is no limits to republican hypocrisy and no issue they will NOT politicize.  The latest issue is tax returns:

Let's look at some things we know about tax returns and politicians:

We know that George Romney(Mitts dad) was the first politician to release multiple years tax returns because  “One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show".

We know that when Mitt was desperate to be John McCain's running mate he gave the Senator over 23 years of tax returns!  

We know that Mitt will NOT release his tax returns to the general public:

We know that Ann Romney says they have given us all of the info "that you people need to know".  

We also know that Washington DC resident,  Eric Hovde has no interest in releasing his tax returns

We know that the republicans think that releasing tax returns is a non issue and has nothing to do with the upcoming election.  

 NOW, thanks to some very good reporting from Jason Rae, we know that when it comes to their opponents, tax returns are a very significant issue.  

From June 27 to July 16, 2012, the Republican Party of Wisconsin, through its political director Jonathan Wetzel, filed an open records request with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue for the tax returns of 26 Democratic candidates for the Assembly. The requests varied from ten years worth of filings to just one year’s return. 
You see, unlike federal tax returns, state tax returns are subject to open records.  It’s just one more aspect of the Wisconsin tradition of transparency in government that has been under assault by Governor Walker and the GOP led legislature in the last year and a half.  But don’t get me wrong, even if they don’t like the transparency, they will use it when it benefits them.
I just don’t understand how they can deny releasing their own returns saying it shouldn’t matter and that it’s an attempt to, as a Hovde spokesman said, “incite class warfare,” and yet go and seek tax returns from other candidates.
Here again we have Republicans talking out of both sides of their mouth. It is actually making me wonder what Tommy, Mark, Eric and Jeff are all hiding if they refuse to release theirs? Its classic do as we say, not as we do.  
Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican.

Republican Extremists!

Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY) is fed up with the GOP and so should we all be! 

“I have to say that I’m frustrated by how much we — I mean the Republican Party — are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history,” he told The Post-Standard editorial board.

…“We render ourselves incapable of governing when all we do is take severe sides…” he said. “If all people do is go down there and join a team, and the team is invested in winning and you have something that looks very similar to the shirts and the skins, there’s not a lot of value there.”

…“I would say that the friends I have in the Democratic Party I find … much more congenial — a little less anger,” he said.

The problem is the vast majority of the current party ARE the extremists! Case in point in Idaho:

The giant sign on Franklin Road and North 21st Avenue features a photo of Holmes with the words, "Kills 12 in a movie theater with assault rifle, everyone freaks out," written under his picture, juxtaposed to a photo of Obama with the words, "Kills thousands with foreign policy, wins Nobel Peace Prize," written below.

The billboard often features anti-Obama messages, and is sponsored by The Ralph Smeed Foundation, the supporters of the late activist for libertarian causes in Idaho. Foundation member and former state lawmaker Maurice Clements, told The Idaho Statesman the billboard is a response to Obama's 'broken promise' to bring home the troops.
 There are also plenty more examples, such as in Texas where it looks like a loony right wing extreme blogger will get elected to the House of Representatives!  Lets hope Freddy, Wiggy and Kev do not get any ideas! 

In mid-May, Texas Republican congressional candidate Wes Riddle posted a new note on his Facebook page. It was written by his spokesman, Garrett Smith, and it was dire. "The reasoning for President Obama's impeachment," Smith wrote, "begins with the fact that the State Department is giving away seven strategic, resource-laden Alaskan islands to Russia." According to the statement, Riddle—who has Rep. Ron Paul's endorsement and stands a good chance of winning in November if he can make it out of next Tuesday's runoff—believed that Obama's unprecedented giveaway included at least one island the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, "billions of barrels of oil" from offshore deposits, and unknown strategic advantages.

"The agreement was negotiated in total secrecy, not allowing the state of Alaska to participate in the negotiations, and…the public was not given any opportunity to comment," he wrote.
Huh Wha????  And I thought our right wing bloggers were insane and full of BS... In case your wondering what is the problem with what he said?   Everything!

There were a few problems with this indictment of Obama: The president hadn't given away any islands; the treaty in question had been signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991; none of the islands, which are well on the other side of the international boundary, had ever been officially claimed by the United States; and Alaska's two US senators at the time had publicly endorsed the measure. Smith's rant, much of which was copied word for word from a WorldNetDaily article, was based on a falsehood.
More examples come from throughout the country with a heavy emphasis in Kansas...Compromise with democrats while in office, and you will pay the price.   

Frustrated by their inability to achieve some policy goals, conservatives in Republican states are turning against moderate members of their own party, trying to drive them out of state legislatures to clear the way for reshaping government across a wide swath of mid-America controlled by the GOP.

Political groups are helping finance the efforts by supporting primary election challenges targeting several dozen moderate Republicans in the Midwest and South, especially prominent lawmakers who run key state committees.

Two years after Republicans swept into power in many state capitols, the challengers say it's time to adopt more conservative policies.

Why wouldn't we want to go to even more extreme with our policies??  Maybe if we elect enough of these nuts we can get Wes Riddle's imaginary islands back!  

Finally, while anything having to do with the "tea party" is extreme and insane,  someone besides our humble blog is fighting back!  This gem taken from facebook!

Nuff Said!


My Birthday Wish List

My birthday is coming up in ten days. In light of that, I was going to start a begathon today, asking people to donate to the old tip jar so I could buy a new monitor and printer/scanner to go with the People's Computer.

But as I was thinking about it, there is something I'd like more for my birthday, and it's something that each and every one of you could help with.

So here is my birthday wish list:
I want my state back.
And the only way that can happen is if we get true progressives elected into office. Sadly, the true progressives are running against people that have sold their souls for the chance to sell us out and are all running with big corporate/PAC money.

And that, dear friends, are where you come in.

I would like you to donate to these people instead of giving me your money. Furthermore, any money I receive between now and on my birthday will be divvied up among the following four candidates, unless you specify otherwise:
  • Laura Hauser-Menting is running for the 71st Assembly District. One of her opponents in the primary is taking money from one of these national PACs, which she just "coincidentally" works for. We need to keep our state ours. Please help Laura out.
  • Scott Michalak is taking on Joel "Honey Wagon" Kleefisch (and he's earned that nickname in more than one way, if the stories are to be believed). Kleefisch is on the take big time and is receiving the help of people like the Bradley Foundation and the Kochs. Please help Scott out.
  • Mandela Barnes is taking on Jason Fields, a corporate Democrat who has sold out his city and his constituents to the education profiteers who would throw our kids under the school bus if it would help their profit margin. Please help Mandela out.
  • Tanya Lohr is taking on the slimy, mysoginistic, utterly hateful Glenn Grothman, who just wants to watch the world burn, using Wisconsin as the kindling. He too is the beneficiary of people like the Bradley Foundation and the Koch boys, Please help Tanya out.
In advance, I thank you for the wonderful birthday present of giving these four people a fighting chance to give me us my our state back.

The Crazy Season - The Coggs Edition

Some political wonks often refer to the time leading up to major elections as the "crazy season." The bigger the election, it seems, the worse the craziness gets. And with this year're recall elections raising the total number of elections to six, it's done gotten really crazy.

One example is Elizabeth Coggs, who must be really feeling nervous now that she understands that the state senate seat that belonged to her cousin, Spencer Coggs, wasn't simply going to be just handed to her.

Showing the stress from the race, she made a very unfortunate comment:
State Rep. Elizabeth Coggs, the Milwaukee Democrat running in the August primary for state senator, urged a gathering of mostly black voters Saturday to "vote for someone that looks like you."
Coggs only made things worse by snapping at reporters after the event. And still unable to leave bad enough alone, Coggs insisted on making things worse by issuing a press release defending her racist comment with more racism:
It’s funny how a complex examination of redistricting and elections can be trivialized and reduced to an out of context comment about "looks." Much has been made of a comment I made at a recent community meeting, when asked about the division within the Democratic Party. I have shared my concerns with the party and my view/opinion may not be popular with others. I understand the history of the battle for our community's representation, my mother Marcia Coggs was this state's first African-American State Legislator; her victory was not easy and it only came with the support of the community.

Every 10 years during redistricting there has historically been a lot of vigorous debate about representation, except this time, because of the secret and divisive process used by the Republican Party. A civilized debate could have been held in appropriate place such as caucus or on the assembly floor rather than a community meeting or through sound bites in newspapers. And in these particular debates the concerns of underrepresented communities could have been addressed.

In the 1980's there were four African-Americans out of 99 representatives for the state, and currently we have eight. That doubling of representation happened through thoughtful discourse, hard fought elections and even lawsuits requiring that districts be reconfigured to give communities of color the greatest opportunity possible to elect a person who best reflects the interests of the demographics of that district.

The Democratic Party itself recently fought a legal case against the map designed for the state and ultimately won, resulting in forcing the state to reconfigure south side districts. And it is my opinion that in this election cycle we could return to 1980’s level of representation if we do not vote and not to mention that this would be a disservice to our ancestors and the fight and struggle they went through to increase representation for our community.

Moreover, my comments were not aimed at any one person or district, just at reminding our community about the struggle those who came before us to get the representation levels we currently have and how important it is for us never to forget that. Ultimately, the Voters will decide who they choose to represent them, my hope is that no representation is lost for our community and the best people win so that we can work diligently to address the needs of our community.
Now I can see why her own cousin didn't endorse her to replace him.

I'm sure in her mind, Coggs wasn't trying to be racist, but desperation can make you crazy.

That said, congratulations and kudos to Mandela Barnes, Sandy Pasch (who the comment was aimed at) and Nikiya Harris for calling her out on it. This is why they are the leaders that we need to take us to a better future.

US Senate Race Is An Easy Choice

Tammy Baldwin has come out with another new ad for her bid to replace the retiring Senator Herb Kohl:

A very positive and pro-American, pro-Wisconsin commercial that hits all the right notes.

This is especially true when one compares her approach to that of the four Republicans vying for the same seat. They are busy trying to show who's the most conservative by who can tear down the others and the state the most.

So who do you want to be your senator? Someone like Tammy Baldwin, who wants to build up the state and the country or someone who's only asset is that they can tear more people down than the others?

To be, it's an easy choice.

Is the Flynn - McBride Affair Still Going On Or Just Again?

Looks like former radio squawker Jessica McBride couldn't keep her hands off Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn's nightstick after all.

Like the crazy politics in Fitzwalkerstan wasn't enough to keep me busy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Walkergate: Another Lawyer, Another Delay

Tim "Secret Router Man" Russell went a-courting today.

Russell, who's been going through lawyers like there's no tomorrow, found himself needing his fifth attorney in the Walkergate investigation after the most recent one, Dennis Krueger, was found to also have taken a job as a state prosecutor, an apparent conflict of interest.

Monday's hearing was the result of that need. Russell showed up with his new attorney, one Parker C. Mathers.

I'm afraid precious little is know about Attorney Mathers. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel came up with nothing other than the fact that he graduated from Marquette University in 2010.

Indeed, the obligatory ten second search of Google only came up with the same thing, except that the poor man had to have David "Chokehold" Prosser speak at his swearing in ceremony.

The only thing I could learn from making some calls was second-hand descriptions that Mathers is a "nice young man" and "a good lawyer."

I am a bit bummed that it wasn't Eric McLeod, since that would have kept me in blogger fodder for weeks and months.

Even worse, because Attorney Mathers has to go through a dumpster full of papers and other evidence, his trial has been pushed back even further and isn't supposed to happen until December 3, 2012. There is a status hearing scheduled for August 6, 2012. But unless Mathers is able to get Russell and Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf to reconsider a plea bargain, I don't expect much to come out of that hearing.

If, as I suspect, the DA's office is waiting to wrap up Russell's and Kelly Rindfleisch's trials before going to the next level up the food chain, the next arrests/charging sessions might not occur until 2013. And there is at least one more tier of thugs and cronies they have to go through before Walker.

4000 Pastors Send A Message

While Paul Ryan spent his Sunday on a "please pick me for VP" tour, maybe he should have taken some time out of his campaigning on the Sabbath,  to listen to 4000 pastors who are calling for a "Moral Budget"! 

An open letter to Congress and the president ran today as a full page ad in Politico. (You can view the ad and full list of signers here.) We were amazed by the huge response this letter generated. We hoped to find 1,000 pastors willing to speak out with us, and in just 2 weeks more than 4,000 clergy joined our campaign.

Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado did a great job summing up what this debate is at its heart. She said, "As a member of the clergy and a mother of 2 children with strong minds and bodies -- minds and bodies which benefited for 3 years from WIC -- I stand with all Christians in America who believe the cries of the poor and the cries of the children are not only the very voice of Christ, but are indeed the sound of our future waiting for a response. How shall we answer?"

Rev. Rich Nathan, senior pastor of Vineyard Church of Columbus in Columbus, Ohio said, "The recession has cost hundreds of our church members jobs and homes. But I am concerned about something that has even more devastating consequences for our nation: the adoption of a philosophy that says 'I got mine! You're on your own!' Jesus had a infinitely wiser philosophy for building a flourishing society: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' This is as meaningful in today's budget debates as it was two thousand years ago in ancient Israel."

Yuri in the 44th!

Due to time constraints and the republicans continuing their craziness, I have been LAX in writing up endorsements.  Here is my first:  Yuri Rashkin in Assembly District 44.

The poor people of Janesville, it is like they are non existent in government (which is has much to do with why their GM plant closed).   They had been poorly represented by Paul Ryan (R - Wall St) for a while, but now he does not even pretend to care about the people in his district anymore

Then statewide they had Mike Sheridan for six years(two years as speaker)who seriously shirked his duties and followed that up amazingly, by a huge step down in Joe Knilans, who not only is supremely unqualified, but thinks so little of his district that he does not even live in it.  

The people of Janesville have a chance to right a long standing wrong and finally get representation in our representative government.   They can make a move to correct that by voting in Yuri Rashkin!

While I will get into much more detail in this race as it goes on, I would like to point out where Yuri won my respect and my endorsement.  Remember back in May, the cowards from CRG put out a despicable anonymous flyer attacking a group of amazing teachers from the Janesville School district! Yuri was quickly one of the most outspoken people denouncing this unwarranted, cowardly hateful attacks on the great teachers in the Janesville School District! 

Janesville has a way to go to recover from the devastation that has been reeped upon it by years of insane trade policies and really bad politicians.   Now is the time to start righting the ship.

Vote Yuri Rashkin on August 14th AND November 6th! 

Florida: Also Known As South Fitzwalkerstan

A friend and faithful reader of Cog Dis alerted me to this article in Salon, which reports of a former Floridian GOP leader who is turning on his former friends and discussing the rampant voter suppression in that state and how it's directed at African Americans. But one thing, which I have emphasized in the following excerpt, really caught my eye:
In the deposition, released to the press yesterday, Greer mentioned a December 2009 meeting with party officials. “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He also said party officials discussed how “minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party,” according to the AP.

The comments, if true (he is facing felony corruption charges and has an interest in scorning his party), would confirm what critics have long suspected. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is currently facing inquiries from the Justice Department and pressure from civil rights groups over his purging of voter rolls in the state, an effort that critics say has disproportionately targeted minorities and other Democratic voters. One group suing the state claims up to 87 percent of the voters purged from the rolls so far have been people of color, though other estimates place that number far lower. Scott has defended the purge, even though he was erroneously listed as dead himself on the rolls in 2006.
Like I said, that got my interest piqued so I followed the story back to the Tampa Bay Times, which originally reported on Greer's statements. When I read the article, I felt like I had stepped through the looking glass into a parallel Fitzwalkerstan.

After going through the accusations of racially motivated voter suppression, I saw this:
Greer said he warned others at the party that the budget committee was made up of "whack-a-do, right-wing crazies'' who were trying to take over because of continuing disagreements with Crist and legislative leaders. House and Senate leaders insisted that no one at the party could control their campaign finances. "We eat what we kill,'' Greer said the leaders told him. "Legislative leaders were using their party credit cards like drunken sailors and they made it clear to me I was not to interfere with their spending,'' Greer said.
Intrigued I read further and what I read was so eerily familiar that it felt surreal:
Thrasher said party officials had no choice but to get rid of Greer once they discovered he had secretly created a company that was getting money from the party.

Many of the questions posed to Greer were about his creation of Victory Strategies LLC, a company that collected almost $200,000 from the party while he was running it. The criminal charges stem from that contract.

Greer's animosity was evident on almost every page of the deposition as he described the inner workings of a party that has controlled Florida since 1998.


Greer said party officials were questioning spending on fundraising trips to New York, Yankees games, limos, expensive cigars and other items when Gonzalez asked him if he had any ownership in Victory Strategies. Greer said he initially denied owning any interest in the company but later admitted it when he and Gonzalez were alone. Gonzalez told state investigators that Greer did not own up to his involvement in the business and threatened to sue anyone who made the accusation. A number of other party officials told state investigators they were unaware of Greer's involvement in the company. Contacted this week, Gonzalez said he could not publicly discuss the case.

Asked about his failure to tell other officials, Greer said they didn't ask.

Asked if he told party finance chairman John Rood, a Jacksonville businessman, Greer said Rood was "basically useless as finance chairman.''

By late December 2009, Greer found himself under pressure to resign. He said he agreed to leave for the "betterment of the party'' and in January 2010 signed a severance agreement that was to pay him the rest of his $130,000 for the year.

Greer said he got concerned when Haridopolos and Thrasher, who had both signed the agreement, began to publicly deny knowledge of it. Haridopolos later admitted signing it, insisting he had not read it.

"Around the party most people considered President Haridopolos to be not the brightest person, but I would assume he would have read the agreement before he signed it,'' Greer said.

Greer had good words only for House Speaker Dean Cannon, saying the Orlando Republican tried to get others to live up to the severance agreement and promised to help him find a lobbying job and clients.

After others at the party refused to honor the severance agreement, Greer said Cannon and Haridopolos contacted his friend Jim Stelling to say that political consultants Pat Bainter and Marc Reicheldfer were going to pay Greer $200,000.

Despite promises of payment and a request from Bainter for information on where to wire the money, none was ever paid, Greer said. After he left the party, Greer said he heard that Thrasher was telling people they were going to have him arrested. A short time later, Greer was indicted by a statewide grand jury on charges of money laundering and fraud.

The charges and the party's failure to pay him have ruined his life, Greer said.

"They took everything I worked for my whole life,'' he added. Now his family is on food stamps, some of his possessions have been repossessed and his children watched their father being arrested.

"Any good thing I did at the Republican Party has been destroyed by these people,'' he said. "I want my life back. I want them to say they are sorry for what they did to me.''
Did you see it?

Now, gentle reader, I want you to reread that above passage, but this time, instead of Greer, think of Tim Russell. And instead of Victory Strategies, think about Operation Freedom and his ersatz web business.

Now do you see what I mean?

Both states have a corrupt, hateful governor. Both states have a Republican legislature that is out of control. Both states have a scandal where a useful tool suddenly becomes expendable and is suddenly facing corruption charges stemming from 2010.

At first I was blown away by he coincidences.

Then, as suddenly as I had the first thought, a second thought struck. I simply attributed the coincidences to Republicans being the incompetent, corrupt weasels that they are.

But as soon as I had that thought, I had a third one. There are too many similarities for this to be purely coincidental. And while it's tempting to believe that all Republicans are corrupt, greedy assholes, that's simply not true. There is still one or two good ones out there. Somewhere.

But there is another commonality between these two states, as well as many others, such as Texas, Ohio, Alaska, Michigan and Arizona. For a lack of a better term, let's call it the ALEC Factor.

ALEC has been a driving force behind much of the legislation in several states and on the federal level. The objective of these ALEC laws are the same: suppress people's rights, especially those of minorities and women; make things much more beneficial and tilted towards corporations; and rigging the system so that the Republicans could maintain control as the corporations pillaged the lands and exploited the people.

The dark overlords executing these Machiavellian machinations also hand-picked their personnel, like Rick Scott and Scott Walker, to carry out their plans. which is why there is such a striking resemblance, behaviorally and mentally, between the whole lot of them. This base mindset then opens the doors to problems like we're seeing in the Fitzwalkerstans.

Given these facts, it would not require a great leap of faith to believe that these masterminds saw these problems arising, figured out a solution - which included throwing one of theirs under the bus - and implemented this solution. I would not be surprised if we find similar stories in other states.

I recognize this sounds rather conspiratorial, but it does fit the Powell Memo remarkably close.  What other rational explanation is there for such similar stories being carried out in different states at the same time?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

We all know the Chik-Fil-A flap caused much controversy recently:

  Take the recent comments by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy in the Baptist Press, in which he pleaded "guilty as charged" for his company's advocacy of traditional marriage based on biblical principles:
We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.
The fast-food chain's commitment has included millions of dollars donated to anti-gay groups and causes, including the Marriage & Family Foundation and the Family Research Council, according to Business Insider. The company's WinShape Foundation also has refused to admit gay couples to marriage counseling. Last year, Chick-fil-A cosponsored a marriage conference with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which lobbied against a state effort to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In another interview on the Ken Coleman Show, Cathy suggested that the nation could face God's wrath for supporting gay marriage. That's pretty strong, incendiary language.
 This led to many celebrities speaking up against such hatred: 

Roseanne Barr struck a differing tone, tweeting that anyone who dines at the restaurant chain “deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ.” She later clarified her sentiments, saying she did not actually wish cancer on anyone. “I should have been more careful in choice of words,” she said in a follow-up tweet.

Also invoking medical conditions was celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who tweeted, “I heard #ChickFilA gives you diarrhea!”

Atlanta native Ed Helms, the actor of “The Office,” “The Hangover” and “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” note, tweeted: “Chick-Fil-A doesn’t like gay people? So lame. Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens! Lost a loyal fan.”

Some celebrities(term used loosely):

Financial guru Dave Ramsey, a bestselling author and talk-show host who sells out stadiums all across the country with his live events, tweeted his support: “I LOVE Chick-fil-A food and Dan Cathy is a personal friend. I will be buying a biscuit on Aug. 1 to tell them I love them. Join me.”

He was referring to a movement spearheaded by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is encouraging people to dine at Chick-fil-A on Aug. 1. Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum is actively supporting “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” as well. In a statement, the Rev. Billy Graham said he will participate as well.
Then two insignificant douchebags felt the need to weigh in:

'Nuff Said! 

Tanya Lohr: Standing Up For Our Families And Communities

Tanya Lohr
On Saturday evening, I had the distinct pleasure and honor of speaking with Tanya Lohr, the Democratic candidate for the 20th Senate District currently being held by Glenn Grothman.

I told her that I didn't have to ask her why she is running. I said that almost anyone could give scores of reasons why he is not a good choice to represent the people of Wisconsin, between the damaging laws he helped enact to the many, many hurtful and hateful things that he has uttered over the years.

She agreed, saying that many of Grothman's comments are offensive across the board.

She told me that she was running because she could see that the communities are changing. They are tired of the mean-spirited attitudes and hyper partisanship that has gripped our state for too long.

Tanya said that has he has been doing the doors, and she has already done a lot of them, she keeps hearing the same thing from the people she speaks with. They want to heal the wounds that has been caused by the divisiveness in the state. They ask her if she is willing to to work with people on both sides of the table, Democrats and Republicans. Tanya told me that this is one of the things she would bring with her to Madison and it is something that her opponent has shown no interest in.

Tanya told me that even though her district is seen as a traditionally strongly reliable Republican area, she is getting a much better response from people than one might expect. While there have been admittedly people that simply shut the door on her when they learned she was running as a Democrat, there has been no explosive tirades, no verbal abuse or other poor showings.

She told me that the most common reaction she has gotten from people, regardless of their party affiliation, has been rather positive. Part of this is probably due to another comment she told me she's been hearing a lot: That no one has ever asked them for their input, not only on what needs to be changed, but how they would like to see the change take place.

That correlates with a lot of things that I have heard regarding Grothman being rather aloof towards even his supporters. I have heard from reliable sources that when Grothman attends events, he will often come late, stay to himself and then leave early.

Tanya told me that she saw the receptiveness of people to her is a sign that the people are ready to move forward.

Since both Tanya and her husband are teachers, naturally education is something about which Tanya is very knowledgeable and passionate. She said that the problems we are starting to see in school districts is a sign that the current approach isn't working. She said that it shows that we need to immediately fix the shared funding again. She also said that she would like to see the caps on school districts removed. She pointed out that referendums are expensive and time consuming and keeps people from moving forward. She feels that if people want to invest in their school districts, they should be able to without anyone from Madison telling them that they can't.

Tanya pointed out that in days of old, people could get by with just the basics: reading, writing and 'rithmetic. She pointed out that in in todays' global marketplace, just teaching the basics are no longer enough. Tanya stated that if our children aren't ready to enter the global marketplace sufficiently education, then we are dooming them to failure, which can lead to higher costs down the road.

Another unintended consequence of the gigantic slashes to the state's school systems is that the more rural communities, like those in the 20th district, are closing satellite schools and centralizing the schools. She pointed out that this means kids will be on buses longer, school districts will be more susceptible to the changes in gas prices and, most importantly, will lose their sense of community.

Tanya said that the number one issue she has heard about from speaking with the people is jobs. She emphasized that jobs are not a partisan issue, but requires both sides to sit down and actually focus on creating jobs in a bipartisanship manner. She said that not only are jobs needed, but that these jobs have to be family supporting ones.

This naturally led to discussion of Act 10. Tanya pointed out that the act cuts the take home pay of public sector workers which leads to cuts in their spending, which in turn hurts small businesses in their community.

Tanya with her family
Tanya offered two examples of this. She said that because of the cuts in her and her husband's take home pay, they no longer send their children to music lessons. This will hurt the music teacher, who in turn must cut down on her spending, and so on. Likewise, Tanya pointed out that she bought a pair of scissors and give her family haircuts instead of going to their usual place. This cuts the money that the barber is making and reduces his spending in return.

She went on to point out that these cuts in spending not only hurt the local small businesses, but can lead to other, and often, higher costs down the road, including people losing their jobs and receiving unemployment compensation and going on Badger Care.

Besides jobs, education and a higher level of congeniality among our politicians, the other big topic is taxes. Tonya pointed out that she has "no interest in raising taxes." Instead, she said that the state needs to collect the taxes that are owed. If people paid their taxes, a lot of the fiscal problems the state is facing would be resolved.

She also stated that she would seek to close the tax loopholes that are rife in the state's tax code. She state that "when billionaires pay nothing, but working people are paying up to 25% in taxes, something is wrong."

Tanya is very proud of the fact that her campaign currently has 22 volunteers and coordinators and no paid staff. She said that this is because she wants the focus to be on the people in the community.

Tanya will be a much needed breath of fresh air to the miasma caused by the hyper-partisanship which pervades our state now. She will represent all of the people in her district and will listen to them and act accordingly, which will make a pleasant change from her incumbent who has show a callous disregard for his constituents at best and has been rude and offensive to them way too often. She will also focus on the needs of the state as opposed to the wishes and whims of out of state special interests.

For these reasons, we are proud to give our endorsement to Tanya.

To learn more about Tanya and her positions on issues, please visit her website. You can also follow her on her Facebook page, which she updates regularly. And if you can, please help Tanya stand up for our families and communities by volunteering or making a donation today.

Sunday's Discussion

This week former republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, defended Penn St and Joe Paterno's handling of allowing an assistant coach prey on young boys for twelve years.  

SANTORUM: I actually read the Freeh Report. I don’t know if you did or not, but I did. And, my concern with the Freeh report, a lot of the conclusions in the Freeh report aren’t matched by the evidence that they presented and so I’ve been talking to a lot of folks at Penn State and they say, ‘you’re just gonna have to wait for the criminal trial of these two guys at Penn State.’ I think there is going to be a whole new line set on what really went on there. So I’m sort of sitting back and waiting for the facts to come out as opposed to at least I’m being told is a version of the facts. … Let’s get the truth. So I think we’re going to see some things come up a little different in the next six months. I just want to make sure we get it right.

I actually voted for Rick Santorum in the presidential primary.   Not because I felt he was the best person, but because I see the republican party as insane these days(and I am not alone).   The problem with primaries is only the true believers pay attention and many have no idea how extreme this party is.   I felt that putting Rick Santorum(understanding I only had one vote) on the national stage would help to show their true colors to the vast majority of independents in this country.

I now realize I was wrong, because(as we see with the support of Mitt) that if Santorum would have been the candidate it would not matter how crazy he is, many people would vote for him anyway.  Is he that much worse than Mitt?  Is it better to swim with crocodiles or alligators?

The question is, was I wrong for voting for Santorum?  Do people even care that the republican party has become so extreme?  is there anything that would make the republicans NOT vote for the candidate with the R after their name?  While I have admitted the error of my ways, what about the people who actually voted for Santorum as a real candidate? or Newt?   DO not forget Rick Santorum was American for Prosperity's Poverty's candidate of choice!  

Guns Dont Kill People?

When I said the other day, that we are having the wrong debate, It was because of the NRA's ultra powerful lobby and lack of courage from politicians.  One of the first thing many politicians did after the horrible shootings in Aurora, CO was to jump on TV and point out this is not the time to talk about reasonable gun control.  Well of course it is, but maybe we need a few more examples.

1.  To the great pleasure of Kevin Binversie,  The Florida Stand Your Ground law was successfully used again

Kenneth Bailey Roop, 52, has been charged with second-degree murder for killing 30-year-old Nicholas Rainey.
A co-worker who witnessed the shooting said Rainey had knocked on Roop’s door, but received no answer. While Rainey was walking down the drive-way, Roop pulled up in his pickup truck and asked why Rainey was at his house. Rainey explained that he was selling steak and seafood. The witness said Roop then pulled out a black handgun and shot Rainey. As Rainey lay on the ground, Roop fired another bullet into the back of his head.

Roop later told police that he shot Rainey in the head “for effect” and that he had three no trespassing signs on his property. Roop said he feared for his life.

“I’m not going to give him the chance to do something to me,” he told police. “I was in fear.”
An off-duty Collier County sheriff’s deputy was nearby and heard the gunshots. When she arrived at Roop’s property, she found Rainey dying on the ground while Roop was in his garage reloading his handgun.

Yee Haw!!!!  Good thing nothing like that could happen in WI!

 These stories must warm Joel Kleefisch's heart up!!

2.   As long as guns can continue to go without any reasonable controls, young children just need to be more careful!!   

KIELER — An 8-year-old boy is dead after he was shot near Kieler.

The Grant County Sheriff's Office was notified Friday that a boy had been accidentally shot with a gun. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after deputies and emergency medical crews arrived.
Besides accidents happen, and happen and happen and happen and happen .....To Infinity & Beyond
Perhaps now IS the time to start having those discussions?   

Help Keep Our State Government Ours - Support Laura Hauser-Menting

I have written many an article slamming Republicans, most notably Scott Walker, for all of the out of state money that they have brought in to win their races. And with all of that out of state money comes a helluva lot of out of state influence to get laws passed that will benefit those same out of state donors, regardless of the maleficent effect that they have on we Wisconsinites.

Some examples would include every ALEC generated law, from Act 10 to the systematic destruction of our education system to the anti-women laws to the failed (for now) mining bill.

Well, guess what. If it's wrong for the Republicans to sell out our state, it's wrong for Democrats to do the same thing.

Laura Hauser-Menting
But that's exactly what could happen in the state's 71st Assembly District race.

In that race, I've endorsed Laura Hauser-Menting. Laura is a true Wisconsin women, right down to her Harley Davidson and her love of all things Wisconsin. And her greatest concern is the people of Wisconsin and making sure that our laws are in their best interest and not tailor made for some out of state special interest.

Unfortunately, not all of her primary opponents can say the same thing.

Katrina Shankland is also running in the primary for this seat. If you visit her Facebook page, she seems like a decent enough person. She boasts of her working on the recalls, gathering signatures, standing up for teachers and women, and all that.

Shankland also makes a bold claim on her website:
Katrina Shankland is the grassroots candidate and the candidate of the people.
And therein lies the rub. She's not.

Giving her resume, Shankland mentions her time working for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin as a field organizer. More notably is her boasting that she is now working as "a State Political Leader Fellow with the Center for Progressive Leadership and a Fellow with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee."

Indeed, if you go to their website, she is listed as one of their "fellows" with this cute little bio:
Katrina Shankland

Katrina is a honey badger from the Badger State. She just finished organizing the recall campaign against Governor Scott Walker, after fighting in the Capitol and on the streets for clean government and fair legislation. Katrina has experience in nonprofit advocacy and field organizing, and is looking forward to taking up the November elections as her next challenge.
The problem comes in with the fact that the same PAC Shankland is working for is also raising money for her. In fact, they are promoting an Act Blue page tying Shankland with Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts.

Just on Saturday, they raise more than $2,000 from out of state donors.  That's a lot of money to raise in one day for a state assembly race.  And I'm sure this out of state money grab will only get bigger over the rest of the weekend and into next week.

My first thought upon seeing this was whether it was even legal. I mean, really? A PAC raising money for one of its own members in a political race?!

Well, it most definitely doesn't pass the smell test. This stunt could and should be considered a conflict of interest at the very least, if not outright illegal.

Adding to the sick irony of it all, Shankland boasts on her Facebook page of a radio interview where she is talking about her "campaign for clean government."

I have news for Ms. Shankland. Her campaign sure doesn't seem clean and her campaign is as grassroots as a gathering of teahadists hosted by the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity.

Like I said at the top of this post, if it's wrong for the Republicans, it's wrong for the Democrats. I am damn sick and tired of out of state groups trying to buy our elections, regardless of the party they claim to be associated with.

Which is why I implore you, gentle reader, to help us keep our state government ours by supporting Laura Hauser-Menting. Please contribute to her today, even if it's only a few bucks. Laura is one of our own, and has stepped up to keep our state ours. The least we can do is to stand with her and help her help us, and not some out of state special interest group.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tell A Lie Often Enough...

Scott Walker sends out a weekly "E-update" to many people. At the head of said electronic newsletter Walker includes this little blurb:
One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@govwalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.
Well, Walker is failing that since he apparently has my emails blocked from receiving these updates, regardless of my interest in state government, since I can't get subscribed to them.

Fortunately, I have friends to forward them to me. And are they rich in blog fodder!

For instance, in the one he just sent out yesterday, he has this Q & A segment:

Each e-update, I will answer a question submitted by a recipient of the previous e-update or from someone who contacts my office directly.
Question: Is there a way to explain the job loss that occurred in June?

Answer: That is a great question. It’s important to understand exactly what is being reported by the media. The statistics you heard about for June are called the Census Employment Statistics or CES. The CES is based off of a survey of roughly 3.5 percent of Wisconsin’s employers. These estimates are currently unreliable for Wisconsin because, for the first time ever, the federal government benchmarked this estimate off of only two quarters of actual jobs data (previously three quarters were used).

In fact, just this week there was communication between the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and the federal government regarding this benchmarking issue. I’m encouraged we’ll be able to correct the problems currently causing inaccuracies in our state’s monthly jobs estimates. You can learn more about DWD’s exchange with the federal government by clicking here.

But back to your original question about June—the CES numbers are not a surprise for two main reasons. First, federal job creation numbers released earlier in the month were weak. And second, the flawed CES estimates inaccurately and negatively skew Wisconsin’s jobs numbers.

Last year, I indicated that I will track job growth by a statistic known as the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which is widely regarded as much more accurate than the CES. The QCEW is an actual job count that is compiled from nearly 160,000 Wisconsin employers and reported four times a year.

The latest QCEW jobs numbers published showed that Wisconsin is heading in the right direction. After three years, where Wisconsin lost more than 100,000 private sector jobs, we added thousands of new jobs in 2011.

We are committed to working hard to keep growing Wisconsin jobs for workers and families in our great state.
Well, apparently being honest with the citizens of Fitzwalkerstan is not a function of the state, since Walker is most definitely being dishonest with us here.

First of all, he can't really be going around badmouthing the CES numbers since he was touting them as hard a person could last year, when he thought they were in his favor.

Second of all, those QCEW numbers that he now likes better showed him still to be a liar and still to be the worst in the country at creating jobs.

So who are you going to believe: Scott Walker or your lying eyes?

The Future Of Education In Fitzwalkerstan

Sometimes, our commenters leave a comment that is so spot on that they deserve their own post.

An example would be this comment left on this piece about how good teachers are leaving in droves because of Act 10 and all of its intended and unintended consequences:
I can tell you what happened to me--it's how educators are being treated now. In my school, a teacher with 19 years of experience (read: teacher at top of the salary scale) was non-renewed. I was told that next year, I would be teaching "his" classes as well as mine--two separate subjects with well over 300 students. I was also at the top of the salary scale; feeling as though I was being set up to fail (merit pay, anyone?), I retired. The teacher who was hired to take my place is a new, unexperienced teacher (read: bottom of the salary scale). In effect, my district got rid of two highly paid teachers and replaced us with one very low paid teacher. This is the future of education in WI.

Adventures With Walker's New Emissions Testing Program

Earlier this week, I wrote about the problems that are already occurring with Scott Walker's new vehicle emissions testing system. Walker decided to put the foxes in charge of the hen house by having auto repair garages do the testing. Since the change happened only a few weeks ago, there are already problems, from an inordinate amount of cars failing to pass the test to the very same garages doing the tests trying to overcharge customers by upselling them repairs they don't need.

The state and the new company that Walker contracted to do the testing, Systech, pushed the change as making it even faster and more convenient. They need to be brought up on charges of false advertising.

What I did not mention in the previous posts was that one of our vehicles was due to be tested so that we could get the tags renewed. And this set off quite an adventure.

Under the old system, we would drive to the nearest testing station, which was about three or four miles away. Sometimes we'd have to wait up to 30 minutes, but often it was only 5 or 10 minutes. The car would be tested and we'd be on our way.

Under the new system, we first had to look up the new testing places. There were four places listed in our area. We knew of all of the places, but were only familiar with two of them. One was the dealership where we bought our cars and the other was a local garage where my dad had his oil changed a few times and did some work on one of our cars once. The other two was another dealership and a garage that we knew already knew had a bad reputation.

My wife, who would be taking the vehicle in for testing, wanted to go to the garage we were familiar with, Cleveland Auto Repair. We both thought that the dealer would try to upsell her services that she didn't need or want.

It turned out to be what we thought a good idea since my dad had to take his van in for an oil change and to have a 'check engine' light checked out. We could each take care of our business with one stop. Or so we thought.

My dad made an appointment for Friday morning, and my wife met him there so he could leave his car for them to work on.

By mid afternoon, the van wasn't ready yet, so my wife went back to the shop just to get our car tested. When she arrived, they told her that their machine was broken so they couldn't do any testing. They told her to come back the next day. This raised a red flag for me. Just how does one break a machine that doesn't have any stress put on it in just two weeks?

By the end of the day, my dad's van still wasn't ready and he had no word from the garage on its status. When we drove to the garage, there was a mechanic there working on his personal collector's car, but he couldn't give us any information on the van. Both my father and my wife remarked on how it didn't look like they had even moved the van all day.

Saturday morning, my wife picked up my father and they went back to the garage. His van still wasn't done. They said that they couldn't figure out the cause of a problem that didn't even exist with the van. When my dad confronted them, they copped an attitude and was very rude to my father. Needless to say he chose to take his van and go elsewhere. The odd thing is, even though they said that they had worked for hours on my dad's van, they had never even moved the seat. We know this because my dad keeps the seat far up and the mechanics were too tall to even get in the car much less drive it without moving the seat.

At the same time, they told my wife that the emissions testing device was still broken.

She then went to the dealership and got the car tested (it passed) but that took her an hour. And, as we had suspected they would, they tried to upsell her some services that she didn't ask about and didn't need.

So all told, it took my wife two days and two different places just to get a test done. And this doesn't include the aggravation from all the unnecessary chasing and hassle dealing with rude people and people trying to push unwanted and unneeded services. Not exactly what I would call convenient, much less quicker.  It's definitely a matter of Walker and company trying to blow smoke up our tailpipes.

That said, it's probably just as good that the garage didn't have their machine working (if indeed it truly wasn't), considering the crap they tried to pull on my dad.

After all this, I decided that I wanted to file a complaint about this. The one thing I noted immediately is that the website for the program, which is supposed to be a state program, actually belongs to the Systech. As you imagine, it has their logo and a whole page dedicated to self-promotion. That makes me wonder, are we, the taxpayers, paying the company to advertise themselves on our dime?

It would fit in with the theme of Corporate Fitzwalkerstan. As does the typical routine of Republicans "fixing" what ain't broke, thereby breaking it but good.

UPDATE: I found that the garage had a Facebook page, so I left my complaint there.  There response was less than professional, to say the least:

Jeff Wagner: Your Hypocrisy Is Showing

Jeff Wagner is the early afternoon squawker on 620 WTMJ-AM. He is commonly referred to as Charlie Sykes Light because, even though he's as equally wrong-minded, he doesn't have spittle spraying from his mouth, usually.

Today, Wagner gave Sykes a run for his money in the hypocrisy department.

It started out when Wagner was whining about the imminent trade of Milwaukee Brewers ace pitcher Zack Greinke.

Wagner was getting his undies in a bundle because Greinke said that he loved playing in Milwaukee, but still might leave for a larger paycheck with another team. He felt that if the difference in paychecks was only $10 million, Greinke should stick to his words and take the lower pay to stay in Milwaukee.

The rant then went on against professional athletes in general and how the bastards participate in the free market and try to get the most money that they can.

The real kicker came from a banker driving through Shawano, who called in and said that if a player signs a contract, that's it. He shouldn't try to leave the team for more money and or ask for his contract to be renegotiated. He said likewise that if the team comes across hard times, they shouldn't ask to open the contract and try to cut the player's salary. Mr. Banker said that both sides just needed to "man up" and honor the contract they signed.

Wagner cheered this on.

Excuse me, but what?

This was some of the most egregious hypocrisy that I've ever heard! And after dealing with Scott Walker level hypocrisy for ten years, that says a lot.

These are the same people that went on for hours a day, day after day, week after week, to praise Scott Walker and gush all over Act 10.

Act 10 was nothing more than Walker refusing to "man up" and honor the contracts between the government and the unions. It was also nothing more than Walker admitting that he has no leadership skills whatsoever and that the only way he could get what he wanted was to break the contracts and act like the despot that he is.

For Wagner or any of his listeners - all four of them - to carp on a professional athlete for trying to earn as much money than can, but then praising Walker for doing just taking the money away from hard working people to give to his rich friends/cronies/campaign donors is beyond hypocritical.

But to top this off, these are the same jokers that will squeal like stuck pigs if their taxes go up a dime, and fight tooth and nail to protect the rich CEOs and bankers who make that much millions or even tens of millions, whether they ran their business well or drove it into the ground. But let a union member try to get a raise or even find a better job with more pay, and they scream about it until they are hoarse.

The saddest part is that these right wing zombies most likely can't even recognize their hypocrisy and double standards.

Crossposted at Whallah!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Walker Budget Keeps Working! Part CXXXIV

Scott Walker sure as the Midas touch* when it comes to job creation.

As Lisa Mux points out, Walker recently bragged about his morally and fiscally bankrupt Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was giving a $15 million tax credit to Plexus Corp to create 350 jobs.

So how's that working out? Just as well as you'd imagine:
Contract electronics manufacturer Plexus Corp. has laid off 116 employees in the Appleton area.

Half of the layoffs are fulltime salaried employees and half are temporary workers.

Plexus reported strong third-quarter earnings last week. But the company made the layoffs this week in response to a decrease in customer orders.

Senior vice president and chief financial officer Ginger Jones tells The Post-Crescent (http://post.cr/NLlpqn) that while the layoffs are unfortunate, they are "a small percentage" of the company's headcount in the Fox Cities.

Jones says the local overall workforce is about 2,000. The layoffs were at one of the company's two sites in the Appleton area, but Jones did not specify which.
Isn't it grand to watch Walker's laser sharp focus on job creation in action?!

*Midas touch as in everything resembles a pile of rusty mufflers, not the mythological king who turned everything into gold.

Cognitive Dissonance Comes To Fitzwalkerstan

Oh, this could get interesting:
Tim Sullivan acknowledges that at least one of his recommendations to Gov. Scott Walker, who appointed Sullivan as an unpaid consultant on work force development in Wisconsin, will be “a big juicy one.”

Make that a big, potentially controversial one.

Sullivan has determined that one of several strategies the state needs to launch involves attracting more immigrants to fill job openings. He told The Business Journal’s Jobs Forum discussion last week at The Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee that he will include his views on making Wisconsin more immigrant-friendly in his recommendations to Walker next month.

Sullivan was not ready to give specifics of ways he believes Wisconsin can boost immigration. However, he pointed to the examples of Canada and Australia as successes in recruiting immigrants to help those countries’ economies grow.
This is setting the stage for some major cognitive dissonance for the right wing.

On one hand, they have to strongly believe that Scott Walker, and by extension, his administration, can do no wrong. Even if it's a person like Sullivan, who has been rather inconsistent in his views and can't make up his mind whether he's conservative or liberal. Despite this, he's Walker's guy, so that automatically makes him a demigod to the right.

On the other hand, his recommendation of increasing immigration smacks them in the face of their xenophobia.

It will be fun to watch how they try to get their hero-worship of all things Walker to jive with their inherent bigotry. I can just picture the beads of sweat forming on their brows as their minds try to cope with these conflicting mindsets.

It kind of makes me want to get an extra supply of popcorn to watch them try to cope with this.

The Fall of Tommy Thompson

"A drowning man will clutch at a straw"

With the current rise of Washington DC resident Eric Hovde as the front runner  in the republican senatorial primary, Tommy Thompson sees his future in politics as non-existent.  With Time running out, Tommy is getting desperate.   Time to call in some help! 

Recently Michigan's native son Ted Nugent penned an editorial in the Cult leader Reverend Moon owned Washington Times, saying it might have been best of the South would have won.  

Chief Justice Roberts squandered the opportunity to restore judicial, financial and legislative sanity to a government that by any sane person’s standards is insane and addicted to centralized federal control of our lives.

Because our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government hold the 10th Amendment in contempt, I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War. Our Founding Fathers’ concept of limited government is dead.

Because of the chief justice’s vote, Fedzilla just burped and is now prepared to gobble up even more of our tax dollars, more of our GDP and limit even more opportunity in the private sector
 Tommy thompson, who is in need of help in his campaign, reads this article and decides that the person who advocates for the slave owning south to have won the civil war and says such incendiary things as this, is THE perfect person to come up to Wisconsin and rescue his falling campaign!  

Earlier this spring Nugent was in the news after comments he made saying he would be “dead or in jail by this time next year” if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

During the rally, Nugent joked that he was very politically engaged and that there were Secret Service agents in back just to prove that, which was met with laughter.

During his speech, Nugent also called the president “a Chicago gangster.”
 PERFECT, exactly what he was hoping terrible Ted said and reached exactly who he wanted to reach!  

Was Dick Morris busy??  

Isn't Jeff Fitzgerald running for Senate also???  

Tommy's New Campaign Song:

Tea Party Heroes

I've written a few times about the illegal furlough days that Scott Walker foisted upon Milwaukee County employees during his last years as county executive.

In a nutshell, Walker put a $20 million hole in the middle of his budgets, and would claim that he would have it covered by concessions by the unions, even though he refused to sit down at the negotiations table to even ask for said concessions, much less get them. In order to maintain the guise that he had crafted a balanced budget, Walker decided to impose furlough days on the workers, even though he knew that was in violation of an arbitration ruling. Some workers, such as yours truly, had to take a full 26 furlough days in 2010. That's one every two weeks.

The unions, of course, filed a complaint about the illegal furlough days, and prevailed. And the unions prevailed at every occasion and at every level the county tried to fight it.

After long last, the county recognized that they were going to have to take their lumps and pay the workers for the money that was illegally taken from them.

On Thursday, the County Board voted, for the second time, to pay back the workers for the number of hours they were illegally docked in 2010. On top of the back pay, the county also has to pay a 12% interest, compounded daily. They had approved the payment in June, but thanks to some poison pill language inserted by Supervisor Pat Jursik, they had to redo it in July.

Technically speaking, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did report on the vote on Thursday.  However, as one who is paying attention might expect, they buried the story at the bottom of a column that was focused on another issue. And as the gentle reader might also expect, they were inaccurate in their reporting.

Here is what they wrote:
On other matters Thursday, the board:

Authorized payment of $4.1 million to reimburse 1,800 county employees for unpaid furlough days in 2010 found illegal by an arbitrator, a decision upheld in court. The figure includes $3.5 million in lost wages, plus $620,000 in interest costs. The furloughs were ordered by then-County Executive Scott Walker as an emergency budget measure. The workers, members of District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, also are claiming about $1 million for 2011 furlough days, but county lawyers are reviewing the issue to determine whether the court ruling applies.
Now, the $4.1 million might be a smidgen below the actual cost. The county provided the breakdown of the payment to the unions, and there's already been a number of calculations that have been found to be faulty, mostly due to using inaccurate wage amounts. But for the sake of discussion, we will o with these numbers.

The bulk of the money, the $3.5 million is the responsibility of Scott Walker. What the paper doesn't tell its readers is that there was no fiscal emergency, as that that the county had a surplus that year, meaning that they could have foregone the furloughs and still came out ahead. And many workers, again, such as myself, were able to dodge the financial bite of the furloughs by getting overtime to make up on the work lost because of the furloughs.

Now thanks to Scott Walker, Milwaukee County employees will be getting paid the equivalent of four weeks of pay, even though they didn't have to put in the time. It's like getting four weeks of vacation pay, but with the pay deferred for a couple of years, and gaining interest much higher than offered by any bank.

That's a mighty costly way of saving taxpayers money, isn't it?

But lets not forget the more than $600,000 in interest that was added to the county's tab.

The blame for that extra payout charged to the Milwaukee County taxpayers falls on Supervisors Pat Jursik and Joe Sanfelippo.

Jursik can be credited for wasting $35,000, the amount of interest accrued each and every month the county did not pay its debt, because of her poison pill language she had inserted the first time the county tried to pay the workers. The Board had to wait another month to correct her attempt to sabotage the payment.

The rest of the interest accrued, nearly half a million dollars worth, can be directly attributed to Sanfelippo, a teahadist who thinks he should be sent to Madison this fall.

Ironically, one of the reasons Sanfelippo thinks he should be a state assemblyman is this:
Streamline governments at all levels and increase accountability to taxpayers by making sure programs and services are achieving good results not just good intentions.
What an interesting point for Sanfelippo to make.

Being the good teahadist that he is, he wants to save money for the taxpayers by not avoiding doing anything which might be construed as being good for the workers.

Joe Sanfelippo
But when Sanfelippo, who was Chairman of the Personnel Committee at the time, refused to accept repeated contract offers from the unions, each time claiming the union's concessions was enough. Keep in mind that the union's last ditch effort to reach a contract last year included all of the contributions towards health care and pension costs that the county was seeking. It also included giving up half of the furlough money, and taking part of what the payback in the form of vacation time spread out.

Sanfelippo refused to even look at the union's offer and dismissed it out of hand. By doing so, he set the county on a course in which it accrued more than a half a million dollars in interest, gave up more than $2 million in concessions on furloughs and gave up even more millions of dollars in lost savings.

In other words, as egregious as Walker's wasting taxpayer money, for no other reason than to gain a political talking point, was, Sanfelippo was able to single handedly squander three to four times as much taxpayer money for no other reason that a teahadist's "good intentions."

Sanfelippo then went to the press and cried that the county didn't have the money to pay the bill he racked up. This was just another hypocritical stunt by Sanfelippo. Even when it was shown that the county had more than enough cash, he still voted against paying their debt off and would rather accrue more cost for the taxpayers.

But then again, we already know that Sanfelippo has no qualms of sticking it to the taxpayers, despite his teahadists chanting:
In the most recent issue of Milwaukee Magazine, there is an investigative report by Marie Rohde that shows that Sanfelippo’s taxi cab company, along with all sorts of unethical treatment of his drivers, made $1.2 million from a contract with the county. It should be noted that it was only in the 2012 budget adoption hearing that Sanfelippo abstained from voting on these contracts, and for a while was even the chair of the committee that made these policy decisions.
Sanfelippo's disregard for the working class in favor of the 1% is well documented.

The sad part is that the people that attend tea parties, listens to squawk radio or relies on Faux News for their information are so deluded that they think that people like Walker, Jursik and Sanfelippo are looking out for them. In reality, these teahadists are only looking for the next way to exploit them.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just In Time For Germanfest!

You want public works employees to work for less money? Buy some of these beauts and they'll be begging to work:

Gotta love that German engineering!

AFP- WI Is At It Again!

We brought you the story of how, after finding out that WI led the nation in job losses in June and that we are 2nd in the Nation in Construction job losses(thanks Alaska), Americans for Prosperity Poverty (AFP-WI) the Koch funded shadow group, decided that this news  was so exciting for the State of Wisconsin that they decided to party!

They are back at it.  Now AFP-WI is holding a birthday party for deceased and discredited economist Milton Friedman! 

Milton Freidman 100th Birthday Celebration

July 31st
6:30pm to 8pm
Country Springs Hotel
2810 Golf Rd Pewaukee, WI

With Rep Robin Vos, AFP State Director Luke Hilgemann, President of School Choice WI Jim Bender, and Brian Pleva of American Federation for Children
It is good that they are going to celebrate a discredited economist, by having no economists in the room!   As for the collection of wingnuts speaking who want to privatize our schools so they can profit off of them,  it did not seem to work in Philadelphia